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My Journey to Self-Love by Hunter Schleicher

My Journey to Self-Love by Hunter Schleicher

Though this is a blog about grief and the journey, it’s also a blog about LIFE and I want to share my story with that in mind. Today, I am more confident than I have ever been. Not because of the way I look but because I have learned to love my body just as it is — living (on) as fully as I can.

When I started my blog, I vowed to be transparent and real — and to be honest I feel like I’ve let you guys and myself down.

I struggled with the vicious cycle of anorexia for years and became a person I didn’t recognize. I lied to people I loved the most, pushed those who tried to help me away and became severely depressed. ALL of my self worth came from the number I saw on the scale that day.

At my lowest point, I remember doing lunges across my bedroom floor at 1 AM because I couldn’t sleep without knowing I had worked off the handful of grapes I ate before bed that night. I would “study” during lunch at school because I knew I didn’t have to eat if I was alone. I would starve myself for days in anticipation for an event or birthday dinner where I knew I would be required to eat. My hair began to fall out. I would go through a minimum of 10 different outfits a day and frequently miss special occasions because I was having a full on breakdown in my closet.

As ridiculous as all of that sounds to me now, it was once my reality. I weighed about 90-95 pounds at the time and the vicious disease took over every. single. aspect. of my life and mind. The food deprivation led into a series of binge and emotional eating episodes. My depression worsened and I have never felt so alone and empty.

Today, I am more confident than I have ever been. Not because of the way I look but because I have learned to LOVE my body just as it is. My thighs touch, I have cellulite and I usually don’t go a day without eating some kind of chocolate. Sometimes I work out 4 times a week and others I’m lucky if I make it to the gym once. Some days I eat salads and egg whites… others I eat Pad Thai and ice cream. But guess what? I’ve learned to forgive myself. I’ve learned that there are more important things in life than a number on a scale.

I’ve never shared any of this publicly and I am hoping my story will resonate with someone, as I have encountered so many beautiful women battling insecurities and comparison lately. A few weeks ago I read that teenage girls in America are TWELVE times more likely to die from an eating disorder than any other illness.  Let that sink in for a second. You might not be able to personally relate to this post, but I guarantee someone close to you can.

Everyone’s journey with health and fitness is unique, but I’m sharing a few of the things that have helped me overcome my eating disorder and get on track to lead a healthier and HAPPIER lifestyle.

Love Your Body EXACTLY How It Is. Not tomorrow, not next year, but right this minute. This mindset has helped me more than anything. Sure, we all have days where our jeans fit a little tighter and we don’t feel our best. Guess what? Your body is just as valuable on those off days. I became a victim to the “things will be so much better when I weigh a certain weight” or “I can really be happy when I look like this” mindset. I even skipped out on my senior spring break because of how terrible I felt about my body. It’s so important to remember that you are deserving of love right now as you are… not at a different weight, not under different circumstances.

Embrace Intuitive Eating. I used to label all foods as “good” or “bad” and I would NEVER touch the so-called bad ones. I thought I was being healthy, but there was no balance in my diet. When I was going through all of this, I don’t think I touched a french fry or slice of pizza for over two years. I would eat the same 3-4 “approved” meals over and over again. I’m all about a healthy lifestyle but you have to cut yourself some slack and mix things up.

Find A Workout That You LOVE. It took me years to learn the difference between a routine and an obsession. I used to run 5-8 miles a day because I told myself I HAD to. I’m so thankful to have found Pure Barre because I now look forward to working out. On the days I can’t make it to Pure Barre or the gym, I have found that simply going on a walk elevates my mood and keeps me from feeling discouraged about my fitness routine,

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. I constantly remind myself of the quote “comparison is the thief of joy.” My friends joke about my overuse of the saying but I truly believe that it can change your outlook. Focus on yourself, celebrate others and wonderful things will happen.

My journey to self-love has wound a complicated path, but I am so thankful to be where I am today. The fact that I’m even able to post these pictures makes me realize just how far I’ve come. If you are dealing with an eating disorder or even a lack of self-confidence, know that you are not alone and you can get through this. Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

 

 

My Journey to Self-Love